Anne Squires1, Jacob Barwig1, Anna Schroeder1, Bethany Schweiner1, Meghan Witt1, Saori Braun1. Acute Effects of a Dynamic Warm-Up and Self-Paced Walking on Functional Balance in Middle-Aged and Older Adults. 1Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI, USA.
Introduction: Given 30% of American adults fall annually, and considering the negative physical, psychological, and financial consequences of falling, research must be devoted to improving functional balance to decrease fall risk in middle-aged to older adults. No current literature compares the immediate effects of dynamic warm-up versus self-paced walking on functional balance in adults aged 45 years and above who are participating in a structured exercise program. The purpose of this study was to examine the acute impact of a 15-minute dynamic warm-up vs. self-paced walking intervention on the functional balance of exercise-accustomed individuals aged ≥ 45 years, males and females. Methods: Sixteen participants (ten males and six females, aged 68.06 ± 4.50 years) completed three 45-minute sessions. On two days, participants completed either a dynamic warm-up or self-paced walking intervention. A counterbalanced testing design was used; all participants engaged in both interventions. Functional balance scores using The Brief BESTest were collected pre and posttest for each session. Results: Two-way repeated measures analysis of variance indicated there was no significant interaction (p<.05) between Warm-up Type (dynamic vs. self-pace walking) and Time (pre- vs. posttests). More specifically, marginal means of balance scores for Dynamic Warm-up was significantly greater than those of Self-paced Walking despite the counterbalanced order of interventions across participants. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that neither a 15-minute dynamic warm-up nor self-paced walking induce an immediate improvement in the functional balance of middle-aged to older adults. Similar intervention may be implemented in the non-exercising aging adults, and a more sensitive instrumentation is necessary to track the immediate changes in functional balance.